Shoppers don’t just use one channel to interact with brands, but many different ones. According to a recent Criteo study, 40% of consumers use multiple devices to complete a purchase. And their experience interacting with brands at each touchpoint must be a seamless and contiguous user experience. There shouldn’t be a service disruption at any point in the journey. Consumers may begin perusing your online catalog from your mobile app, make the purchase on a desktop, and physically pick it up at your store. Rather than being multi-channel, this omni-channel process should be fluid and easy.
The omni-channel approach is the best way to ensure brand continuity as you’ll be able to accompany your customers wherever they are. More than that, it’s possible to identify them across multiple devices. This is achieved in a number of ways including a customer user ID, which can be an email address, or probabilistic ID matching. The latter works by matching devices along a number of parameters such as device type, device OS and a slew of other factors to statistically determine if the same user is associated with multiple devices.
The Devil Is in the Data
With omni-channel being the more unified and cohesive approach, many retailers are making the shift. A Forrester study shows that 45% of retailers say that shifting to an omni-channel marketing approach is a top priority for their business in 2015. However, is their analytics making the shift as well? Can retailers login to one unified dashboard and get a 360° view of their customers? Or are they even able to connect the dots in their own CRM? The chances are that most companies are still stuck in multi-channel and have yet to evolve.
A company aiming to increase ROI to meet targets will only succeed if they understand all the ways customers are interacting. A multi-channel approach may have all the online interactions from customers in one database. A completely different system is capturing activity on mobile or in store. If a marketer doesn’t have the complete picture of interactions and activity that connects the data per consumer rather than per channel, how can they tailor messaging and target them? A dashboard displaying all connected interactions offers better data to target clients and unified data will enable full understanding of accurate ROI and user LTV.
For instance, it may be that 15% of customers are adding products to their shopping cart on their mobile device but complete the purchase online. Are brands sending them the right messaging on email and ads to close the deal and get them to convert? Recently Furla, the designer leather goods brand, switched database solutions for this very reason.
What to Measure
Given all the channels shoppers can interact with, what data is really needed? Let’s break it down.
- In-store purchase
Are brands tracking customers’ in-store activity by asking them for their email or phone number upon the completion of their purchase? Most are probably already doing some of this by having customers sign up for a loyalty card, which can be scanned with every purchase.
- Online activity: website and social networks
Digital shoppers are visiting web sites and interacting in a variety of ways. They are probably browsing product catalogs, making a wish list, sharing products on social networks and of course adding items to their shopping cart. Many of them are also converting and making their purchase via the website.
- Mobile activity:
Many customers are engaging with brands on a smartphone in the same ways as they do on websites. This may be occurring in two ways: via a mobile site or via a native app. Brands want to be prepared to tell the difference and understand their behavior within each framework.
Ads are broadcast all the time on TV for companies. Sometimes a brand’s app may even be promoted. The proper data will help provide perspective on whether the target audience downloaded the app. There are technologies available that allow marketers to upload their app TV campaigns and have them tied to an attribution window. Meaning if an user acquisition type of ad is broadcast at 6pm in NY, the technology will attribute installs within 15 minutes of airing.
Although customers are interacting with brands in a fragmented way, advertiser data shouldn’t be. Instead think of each channel as a different facet of user activity. Customers want to interact with brands when and where they want. The key to making that interaction meaningful lies in the ability to measure and connect the data on each customer and view it all in one place. This helps brands to interact with customers rather than their devices and understand the true value of each acquired user.